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Google Government Politics

Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers? 243

theodp (442580) writes "'The government is not the only American power whose motivations need to be rigourously examined,' writes The Telegraph's Katherine Rushton. 'Some 2,400 miles away from Washington, in Silicon Valley, Google is aggressively gaining power with little to keep it in check. It has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a White House advisor. In Britain, its executives meet with ministers more than almost any other corporation. Google can't be blamed for this: one of its jobs is to lobby for laws that benefit its shareholders, but it is up to governments to push back. As things stand, Google — and to a lesser extent, Facebook — are in danger of becoming the architects of the law.' Schmidt, by the way, is apparently interested in influencing at least two current hot-button White House issues. Joined by execs from Apple, Oracle, and Facebook, the Google Chairman asserted in a March letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is not in the economic interests of the U.S.; the Obama administration on Friday extended the review period on the pipeline, perhaps until after the Nov. 4 congressional elections. And as a 'Major Contributor' to Mark Zuckerberg's PAC, Schmidt is also helping to shape public opinion on the White House's call for immigration reform; just launched new attack ads (videos) and a petition aimed at immigration reform opponent Rep. Steve King. In Dave Eggers' The Circle, politicians who impede the company execs' agenda are immediately brought down. But that's fiction, right?"
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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

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  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:54AM (#46799623)

    The implication seems to be that we cease google and face book as state assets... nationalize them.

    No. We're not some pathetic third world dystopian shithole... yet. And until we are, modern, civilized, and rational countries don't go around stealing the assets of companies or individuals. Its moronic. You do that and you discourage improvement. That's what happens in countries that never get better. They got desperate at some point and they stole from the people. The people responded by not improving anything. They stopped. They know that if they improve anything the government or some other powerful person or group will take it from them.

    So they leave the stones in the fields. They don't paint the houses. They don't build anything that they think someone might want to take from them.

    Its a nightmare. DO NOT steal from the people. They will shut down and go into survival mode.

  • Solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @12:05PM (#46799667)

    Just allow companies to only grow up until they have, say, 1000 employees.
    After that, they can only split.

    What this solves:
    No more conglomerates, companies form modular structures, output of 1 company can be reused by another company at a useful granularity.
    This leads to much more competition, where previously only monopolies or quasi-monopolies were possible.
    This, in turn, reduces and redistributes power.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @12:22PM (#46799777) Journal

    To paraphrase: The best argument against democracy (and yes, even democratic republics) is a five minute discussion with the average voter.

    Toss it all out, it is corrupt by nature, and appoint everybody by lottery for one term only. Only then can we get the turnover needed to eliminate the careerism and mitigate the corruption.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Sunday April 20, 2014 @12:24PM (#46799795) Journal

    but not concerned with the Koch brothers

    What's the deal with this Liberal/Progressive/Leftist obsession with two people that the vast majority (85% in one poll I saw) of the American people have never even heard of? It's like the Democrats are already trying to rationalize why they've lost the 2014 mid-terms. It wasn't the platform, the electorate's exhaustion with the party, the bad economy, or even the usual historical trend away from a two term President.... it was those Machiavellian brothers and Citizens United!

    Seriously, it's counter-productive to keep beating that particular drum, and the defeatism is a bit premature to say the least.

    Incidentally, I see your Koch brothers and raise you George Soros and Michael Bloomberg. The right is obsessed with those two figures, though not to the same degree the left is obsessed with the Koch brothers.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @01:08PM (#46800037)

    I'm not sure why there's all this hand wringing over corporate influence on the political process, I'd much prefer corporations having a say than some of the more powerful ideological interests that influence politicians.

    I say this because corporations are basically greedy.

    Greed doesn't care about your skin colour, your gender, your nationality, greed isn't interested in reframing the social dialogue in order to deconstruct gender roles that are constantly evolving anyway, greed won't murder you or drive you out of a job because you think the wrong way or hold the wrong opinion. All greed cares about is its own self interests. I trust greed, I know what it is and what it wants, and I can reasonably reliably predict what it's going to do next. Greed is in fact the great equaliser that is the holy grail of most progressive politics.

    I mean putative corporate dystopias can hardly hold a candle to some of the actual real life ideological dystopias which have existed.

    And so I don't get worried about corporations influencing governments. As long as they're kept at one anothers' throats (capitalism) things are working more or less the way they should.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @02:14PM (#46800451) Homepage Journal

    Fed vs State. Simple.

    Easy for white man to get all emotional about the politics, without caring for the people.

  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @03:00PM (#46800711)

    People care about people. Governments do not. Any one who thinks the government is his friend is either a crony or a fool, possibly both. Governments' mission is to compel or prohibit; their core competence is coercion in the name of the status quo.

    Before government made black self-defense illegal and enforced bigotry with government guns, blacks at least had a chance. Society was at least slowly intergrating even in the face of government sanctioned lynching, before government stepped in officially and made it illegal, backed by government guns and jails. The US Post office and military were more integrated than most people realize, until Woodrow Wilson came along and enforced segregation. That Louisian railroad was just one of many companies who integrated in pursuit of the amlighty dollar, until governments came along and stopped them with government guns and jail.

    Progressives are an ignorant whiny lot, like all statists. All power to the government! The people, not so much.

  • by siride ( 974284 ) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @06:22PM (#46801693)

    They're quite competent; they just don't do what's in the best interest of all the stakeholders.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.